The increased emphasis on higher academic standards in Early Childhood Education has changed the instructional landscape and developed myths of quality learning. In recent decades, pre and primary schools have begun to focus more on assessments and testing as a determinant of quality learning; this emphasis has led to a shift to “push down academics”, which refers to an increase of academic standards at a younger age (Bassok, Latham, and Rorem, 2016). The concept of “push-down academics” is contrast to the foundational components of early childhood education, which equally values socio-emotional development, academic core concepts, and natural growth (Burman, 2016; Alford, Rollins, Padron & Waxman, 2016). This paper discusses the shift in ECE educational settings from foundational components of learning to “push down academics” and reveals the commonly associated myths of the implications of “push down” academics. We also review how the implementation of “push down academics” in early childhood privileges academic concepts over other forms of learning and consequentially minimizes the importance of skills outside of the academic core (Piker & Jewkes, 2014).
Key Take Away Points
- Insight and knowledge of the recent history and progression of pre-schools and early learning in recent decades.
- The educational impact of standardization and "push down accountability" at the pre-school stage.
- Unveiling the myths of "push down academics" and broadening the possibilities of more acceptance to progressive early learning instructional philosophies and strategies.
Flora Harmon is a Lecturer, Research Assistant, and Doctoral Student of Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Early Childhood Education & Culture from Texas A&M University. She also completed her Masters Degree in Social Service Administration with a certificate of specialty in School Social Work from the University of Chicago. Professionally, Ms. Harmon worked as a Mentor Teacher and Teacher Trainer at private Reggio-Inspired preschool and primary programs. Ms. Harmon’s research interests include Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in ECE and Teacher Training in Early Learning environments. Dr. Radhika Viruru is a Clinical Professor and director of the Online Ed.D in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture at Texas A&M University. Her research interests include postcolonial childhood studies and technology integration. She is the author of Early Childhood Education: Postcolonial Perspectives from India published by Sage in 2001 and Childhood and Postcolonization: Power, Education and Contemporary Practice (co-author) published by Routledge in 2004 as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles.
Harmon, Flora and Viruru, Radhika
"Debunking the Myth of the Efficacy of “Push-down Academics”: How Rigid, Teacher-Centered, Academic Early Learning Environments Dis-Empower Young Children,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 18
, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol18/iss1/11